Driving Impaired in Arizona

Driving under the influence (DUI) already has significant consequences and service members, have additional repercussions because of their involvement with the military. Learn about how receiving a DUI impacts your life.

How is someone determined to be driving under the influence?

In Arizona, “driving under the influence” (DUI) is the official term instead of “driving while intoxicated” (DWI) like in other states. Arizona’s state law prohibit all motorists from conducting a motor vehicle if:
  • Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at .08% or above, or
  • While under the influence of drugs, or
  • "Impaired to the slightest”
Driving under the influence
While the limit is .08%, in the same law it says that if you are under .08% but above .05%, then this fact can be used along with other evidence to possibly still find you guilty of DUI. (A.R.S. 28-1381(G)(2)) 
For drivers under 21 years of age, any detectable amount of alcohol or intoxication is enough for a DUI. In Arizona a DUI is considered a class 1 misdemeanor. (A.R.S. 28-1381(J))

Can I get a DUI if I was in my car but not driving?

It is possible to get a DUI even if the engine is not on in the car. This is because the law says that just being in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while you are under the influence is illegal.
Several factors are looked at when it comes to deciding if a person was in actual physical control of a vehicle. A few of these factors are:
  • Where the vehicle is located, 
  • Whether or not the person was sitting in the driver's seat, and
  • Where the keys were located

What are the consequences of getting a DUI in Arizona?

For a 1st time DUI, a person may:

  • Serve 10 days in jail; however, nine of those days may be suspended if a treatment program is completed,
  • Be fined a minimum of $1,250 and possibly community restitution (A.R.S. 28-1321(I)(1-5)),
  • Lose their driver’s license for at least 90 days and it may not be reinstated until an alcohol or other drug screening is completed. (A.R.S. 28-1321 B(1)-(2))

For a 2nd time DUI (within 7 years), a person may:

  • Serve 90 days in jail; if an alcohol treatment program is completed, 60 of the 90 days may be suspended.
  • Be fined a minimum of $3,000 and possible community restitution (A.R.S. 28-1321(K)).
  • Be required to install an ignition interlock which requires you to blow into a mouthpiece before the vehicle can start. (A.R.S. 28-1321(I)(6)) These devices have both an installation cost and a monthly maintenance fee.
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1ST OFFENSE 2ND OFFENSE 3RD OFFENSE
JAIL Min. 24 hours to 10 days Min. 30 days to 90 days Min. 4 months
MINIMUM FINES $1250 fine $3000 fine $3000 fine
LICENSE SUSPENSION 90 days to 1 year 1 year 1 year
INTERLOCK IGNITION DEVICE REQUIRED? Yes Yes Yes
Denying taking a BAC test is unlawful and will add more consequences. Learn more about Arizona’s “implied consent” [Button] https://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/dui-refusal-blood-breath-urine-test/arizona.htm

What if my BAC is a lot higher than .08%?

A DUI with a BAC test above .15% or higher is considered an extreme DUI.

For a 1st time extreme DUI, a person may:

  • Be jailed no less than 30 consecutive days with no possibility of probation or suspended sentence,
    • For BAC tests above .20%, the DUI driver is jailed no less than 45 consecutive days with no possibility of probation or suspended sentence. (A.R.S. 28-1382(D)(1))
  • Be fined no less than $2,500 and possible community restitution.
  • Be required to install an ignition interlock which requires you to blow into a mouthpiece before the vehicle can start after completing an alcohol or other drug screening. (A.R.S. 28-1382 (D)(5)). These devices have both an installation cost and a monthly maintenance fee.
  • Not get their driver's license reinstated until an approved traffic survival school course is completed.

For a 2nd extreme DUI, a person may:

  • Be jailed no less than 120 days with no possibility of probation or suspended sentence,
  • Be fined no less than $3,250 and is required to serve no less than 30 hours of community restitution, (A.R.S. 28-1382)
  • Lose their driver's license for at least 1 year,
  • Be required to install an ignition interlock which requires you to blow into a mouthpiece before the vehicle can start after completing an alcohol or other drug screening. (A.R.S. 28-1382 (E)(5)). These devices have both an installation cost and a monthly maintenance fee.
  • Not get their driver's license reinstated until an approved traffic survival school course is completed.
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What if I am caught driving under the influence while serving the consequences of a previous DUI?

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An aggravated DUI is committed by a person who:
Was driving under the influence while on a suspended, revoked, or canceled driver’s license,
Commits a 3rd DUI in 7 years,
Commits a DUI while a person under 15 years of age is a passenger,
Commits or refuses to do a BAC test while having a ignition interlock device in their vehicle,
Commits a DUI while driving the wrong way on a highway.
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For an aggravated DUI, a person may:
Be jailed for no more than 2 years depending on circumstances,
Be required to install an ignition interlock which requires you to blow into a mouthpiece before the vehicle can start after completing an alcohol or other drug screening. (A.R.S. 28-1383(J)(1)). These devices have both an installation cost and a monthly maintenance fee,
Lose their driver’s license for at least 1 year,
Be fined no less than $4,000, (A.R.S. 12-1383(J))
Not get their driver’s license reinstated until an approved traffic survival school course is completed.
People found to have committed an aggravated DUI, Arizona law considers this as a class 4 felony. For aggravated DUI while driving with a person under 15 years of age, Arizona law considers this a class 6 felony. (A.R.S. 12-1383 (O)

What happens if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test or give blood?

If a person refuses to take a blood, breath alcohol, or urine test they may automatically lose their license for 1 year. A second refusal within 7 years may result in the loss of a license for 2 years. This is so because when you apply for an Arizona driver’s license you gave consent that if requested you would perform a BAC test.

What are the military consequences of a DUI?

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). 911 Article 111 of the UCMJ says that any service member found to be drinking and driving "shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."
In other words, this incident will be taken to military court where a consequence will be determined. Typically, the commanding officer selects the consequence, but cases vary. Learn about military courts and their process to understand more.
The commanding officer may also choose to select administrative action or issue an Article 15.

What if I got a DUI off base?

If you are in the military and are convicted of a DUI while not on a military base, you may face the same consequences as a civilian, and you could receive additional consequences from the military such as but not limited to:
  • A demotion, 
  • A letter of reprimand, 
  • Cancellation of pass privileges, 
  • Forfeiture pay, 
  • Mandatory referral to a military substance abuse program, or
  • Bar to reenlistment
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It is important to remember that state law and military law are different. For military service members this means that they may still be court-martialed (having to go thought military court) for a DUI, even after actions have been taken by the state already.
In these types of scenarios, the state files criminal charges, and while the military might not take this to military court, the commanding officer may still determine if military charges or actions is necessary.

Can a civilian get a DUI in a military base?

When driving on military base as a civilian, any DUI will fall under federal jurisdiction (control). Getting a DUI on a military base as a civilian is considered a federal offense, which falls under the Code of Federal Regulation. An Army’s Judge Advocate’s Group (JAG) will take this to federal court.
While military police and civilian police are not the same, military police have the same authority as civilian police. They may stop cars if there is probable cause, perform a sobriety test, and arrest drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence.
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For civilians who work on base but are not service members, getting a DUI may face immediate termination of employment.

What is Veteran's Court?

Some cities offer Veterans’ Court to veterans who are charged with a DUI. If you are eligible for Veterans’ Court and complete the program, you will still be charged with a DUI, but the fines and jail time may be reduced. It is important to remember that statutory rules such as the minimum one-day jail sentence are mandatory. Veterans who are VA eligible may receive help with the cost of the treatment program.
Some courts can provide help through programs for veterans who are not VA eligible. Many veterans have found Veterans’ Court to be an invaluable experience that changed the course of their lives.

Acronym:

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol, or it may mean driving under the influence of drugs.

Blood Alcohol Concentration

Measurement of the level of Alcohol in your blood

Uniform Code of Military Justice

Is the legal framework that governs all members of the United States military.

Judge Advocate's Group

Judge advocates serve primarily as legal advisors to the command to which they are assigned. In this function, they can also serve as the personal legal advisor to their commander.

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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